Toronto Raptors: Stock up and stock down for Game 1

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Stanley Johnson (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The end of the rotation

If you were paying attention to Tuesday night, and I’m sure you were, you will have noticed that Nick Nurse only elected to run a tight 7-man rotation with Terence Davis sprinkled in as the eighth man.

That might not come as a surprise, considering Nurse had some stern words in regards to some of the new pick-ups from this offseason – namely Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Still, that did, in a way, contribute to the fact that Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet both clocked in 44 minutes of playing time. In fairness, the game went to overtime, but even without overtime, both would have played 39 minutes.

If that tells us anything, and it most certainly does, it’s that Nick Nurse does not trust anyone towards the end of the bench – not yet anyway. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was inactive for the game with a groin injury, and he may have featured in some capacity, but even then it was unlikely.

If the Raptors have only two wing options that they really trust right now – and it looks that way – then that could prove to be a major problem. OG Anunoby looked great in his first game as the starting small forward, and Norman Powell was okay (final possession of regulation time withstanding) but Nurse can’t run an 8-man rotation all season long, plus it’s just not in the Raptors DNA.

The Raptors need help from their end of the rotation guys, but this serves as a wake-up call for them. No one is going to walk on to the roster – places have to be earned.

VERDICT: Stock down. Stock way down.